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The Sound of (Vegas) Music

The worlds of emerging music, film and technology converge and take over Austin, Texas, this week as the 24th annual South By Southwest Music and Media Conference (SXSW) gets under way.

Film is the focus of the first five days of the conference, beginning March 12, while the interactive component runs through March 16. The music component doesn’t come into play until March 17, but when it does, Las Vegas band-on-the-verge Imagine Dragons will be there.

“We’re all pretty stoked for SXSW,” the group’s drummer, Andrew Tolman, says. “We’re especially excited to play the BMI showcase and a few other really excellent gigs.”

Of course the trip won’t be all business for the five-piece.

“I don’t think any of us have been to Texas, and we plan on maximizing our time there soaking up the sun, eating like kings and getting our hands on as much free stuff as humanly possible,” Tolman says.

Other Las Vegas ambassadors to SXSW include the world premiere of Reggie Bythewood’s film One Night in Vegas (about Sept. 7, 1996—the night Mike Tyson fought Bruce Seldon and Tupac Shakur was shot), reggae rap metal rockers One Pin Short, Beauty Bar regulars the Afghan Raiders and eclectic local favorites Moksha.

Before they head to Austin, One Pin Short plays Acoustic Strip at House of Blues on March 11 (At Mandalay Bay, 8 p.m., all ages, free); Imagine Dragons play Beauty Bar as part of the Neon Reverb Music Festival on March 12 (517 E. Fremont St., doors at 8 p.m., ages 21+, $8); and Afghan Raiders play Beauty Bar as part of Neon Reverb the following night, too (doors at 9 p.m., ages 21+, $5).

Driving Dreams, Driving Reality

Imagine a sports car that takes you from zero to 60 mph in less than 3.2 seconds but can get up to 78 miles per gallon, too.

Engineers at Porsche are doing more than that. The automaker unveiled that very car—the 918 Spyder—at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show on March 1. Still, don’t expect to see it on roads anytime soon: It’s just a concept car.

Someday the Spyder will have a 500 horsepower V8 with both gas and electric powertrains that is capable of 198 mph. The design calls for straight-up electric, electric-gas hybrid, sport hybrid and race hybrid modes.

Until that dream becomes a reality, there’s another flashy new model to focus on—and you can take this one for a test drive.

The Jaguar XJ is coming to the possible future home of the 918—Gaudin Jaguar, Porsche, Aston Martin.

The most daring Jaguar design in 40 years, Jag’s design director has called it, “the most emphatic statement yet of Jaguar’s new design direction.”

The XJ’s elongated design includes three side windows and a totally new back end featuring wrap-over taillights. Inside, the dash has an eight-inch and an innovative 12.3-inch instrument display that looks like one from a jet cockpit.

Four models are available, ranging in price from the 5.0-liter V8, 385 horsepower XJ ($72,500) to the to the 510 horsepower XJL Supersport ($115,000).

Want to see it for yourself? Gaudin is welcoming its newest addition on March 16 with a launch and drive event from 1 to 4 p.m. followed by food, appetizers and an up-close and personal look at the new beauty from 5 to 8 p.m. 7200 W. Sahara Ave., RSVP via Facebook,, 571-4979.

Fake It, No Tips Required

From surgical enhancements to spray tans, Las Vegas ladies do know how to fake it—but there’s another way of going pas naturel that looks and feels like the real thing. Bio Sculpture Gel nails are the talk of the town—well, Town Square’s Beauty Lounge, at least—because, unlike traditional acrylic and gel nails, they won’t chip, lift or damage natural nails.

The South African-developed gel is applied in two coats and cured under a UV light. Once set, they are flexible, durable and can be removed using a gentle soak-off method.

Beauty Lounge owner Lynn Tang wasn’t a fan at first because the start-up costs were daunting, but she realized it was worth the investment after being unable to find another product that offered similar results. “You get what you pay for,” she says, noting the treatment lasts about four weeks.

The $45 for an overlay (and $30 for a fill) is the same price Beauty Lounge charges for regular gels (and $5 more than acrylics), and this month new customers can try Bio Sculpture for $20.

While Beauty Lounge’s two locations just began offering Bio Sculpture a few weeks ago, they aren’t the only ones offering the service. The product is available at about 10 other salons in Las Vegas and Henderson, including Emerge Day Salon and Spa (4180 S. Grand Canyon Drive), Amp at the Palms, Christophe Salon at MGM Grand and Aria Salon and Spa at

Drai’s Goes Hollywood

Hollywood and Vine is known for “Love Potion No. 9,” but Victor Drai and brothers Cy and Jesse Waits are hoping to change that with the introduction of their latest nightlife undertaking, Drai’s Hollywood. The $15 million project sits high above the famous intersection, atop the new W Hollywood. L.A.’s newest hotspot follows in the well-heeled footsteps of the trio’s successful Las Vegas ventures Tryst, XS and Drai’s namesake afterhours haunt in Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall and Saloon.

“We’re not Vegas in L.A.; we’re L.A. with the same Vegas service—and still have it tight and exclusive,” Jesse Waits says.

Helping them achieve this goal is longtime Tao VIP host Larson Legris, whom Drai recruited and relocated for the project.

To overcome the hot-one-day-not-the-next problem that plagues the L.A. club scene, Waits says their plan was to “come out here and do it different.” The strategy included Drai’s signature over-the-top, opulent style: The space exudes sheer luxury from top to bottom, featuring prime views of the Hollywood Hills from floor-to-ceiling windows, plus luxe red velvet walls, indoor/outdoor seating and a rooftop pool.

The main-floor members-only lounge ups the exclusive ante, admitting only the best of the best clientele. Meanwhile, an on-site restaurant with seating for 120 also factors into the mix, with a menu by chef Claude

Cocktail Heroics

Tony Abou-Ganim wrote the book on Las Vegas mixology. He was Bellagio’s original resident cocktail guru—handpicked by Steve Wynn—back at the turn of the century when Strip bartending was all about volume and the drinks were fancy just for being red. Thanks to his pioneering efforts, talents and tastes, today we’re among the nation’s most innovative cocktail cities.

Now Abou-Ganim has written the book, and this time it’s a 200-page, hardbound tribute to the deliciousness of his craft. The Modern Mixologist: Contemporary Cocktail Classics (Surrey Books), due out March 26, is a collection of his best drink recipes from “30 years behind bars,” including the famous Cable Car, which he invented during his San Francisco beverage-development days, and the Hard Eight, which came to him right here in his adopted city.

Not only are there instructions with and a story behind every cocktail, the oversize book showcases the photography of James Beard Award-winner Tim Turner, who brings out the best in Tony’s sensuous creations.

For both men, this project was obviously a labor of love, and while that’s great for them, we’ll drink to the fact that—from its history lessons to mixing methods—the book will be put to good use at home,, preorders for $35.

More Wine for Us!

When Total Wine & More came to town March 4, it brought some boozy brains with it. All of the store’s 25 new associates had to pass two wine exams, and the store has an ongoing employee wine education program, as well. It’s all part of the effort to create a different wine-buying experience for Las Vegas oenophiles.

Total Wine & More, recipient of Beverage Dynamic’s 2008 Retailer of the Year award, has 63 stores in 11 states. Our branch, in Boca Park (730 S. Rampart Blvd.), hosts three weekly wine tastings: noon to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 1-5 p.m. Sundays.

A wine-o wonderland, the new 27,000-square-foot store carries 8,000 wines, including 1,100 cabernet sauvignons, 750 chardonnays, 500 merlots, 250 zinfandels and 600 pinot noirs. And Wine and More’s “more” includes 2,000 kinds of spirits (500 vodkas, 220 scotches and 230 rums, among others) and 1,000 beers. It blows big smoke, too, with more than 200 high-end cigars in the walk-in cigar humidor.

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Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Jacob Snow, general manager of the Regional Transportation Commission, has spent his career working on ways of bringing people to Las Vegas and moving them around. In a transit-averse, auto-heavy town like this, that hasn’t been easy. Cars are happiest, he says, when there aren’t other cars around. “We’ve got a lot of unhappy cars.” And Snow thinks he has a solution to get people out of them. It’s called Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), and it’s about to unfold across Las Vegas.



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